Confessions of Philadelphia’s One Percent

They've been mocked, maligned, protested, pilloried, and generally blamed for the downfall of the economy. So what's it feel like to be rich these days? We asked. Five wealthy (and anonymous) Philadelphians answered.

The Inheritor started working for her parents as a young child, and after college helped the business expand. She eventually bought her own company, which she sold a few years ago; she’s now a consultant. The Inheritor is worth $11 million herself; her parents have assets well over $100 million.

eople say tax the rich, they can afford it. But you don’t know what my lifestyle and my budget is. I’m already paying for everybody to stay home and have babies and live in houses that they can’t afford and do all kinds of things that they shouldn’t be doing in the first place. That’s coming out of me working my butt off every day.

Our government doesn’t put money to good use. Private industry puts money to good use, and it’s one of those things that somewhere along the line, we went from being the land of opportunity to being the land of entitlement. And the one percent missed the memo—the one percent still sees this as the land of opportunity, and if you have half a brain and you put it to work, you’re going to rise up by your bootstraps.

After college, my father called me and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, because the family business was growing significantly at that point. I found myself being on the road and all over the map. I loved it.

During Occupy Philadelphia, I was working one day and I had to cross through Dilworth Plaza, where the protests were happening. I’m walking through in my Gucci boots and looking around. Nobody had any idea what they were doing there. A good portion of the people that I saw there were 20-something, educated, handing out water bottles and thinking they’re doing the world a favor by saving the universe, and I’m sure Daddy’s paying the bill for it.

There are always jobs in restaurants—always. And there are always jobs in fast food, and there’s always jobs in retail. You may not be able to get the six-figure CEO job today, but wouldn’t that make you one of the one percent you hate so much?

I was at a lunch with a group of men. It was late afternoon, and we were talking about the Occupy movement. And we hear a tumult outside of the window. They’re marching down Broad Street, and a bunch of us went out. They’re blocking traffic, with of course police escorts, which are costing us money, and they’re interrupting thousands of people’s business day. It started as a joke: Well, I’m the one percent, are you the one percent? So as the tail end of the protests were going by, we started putting our fingers in the air and going, “We’re the one percent! We’re the one percent!”

A lot of people in the march turned around and booed. We went back inside, laughing so hard.

I probably spend 40-plus hours a week on the clients I have now, then on charity another 40 hours a week—it’s nights, weekends. My play is charity. There’s a grand responsibility that comes from having money—you have to really help the community. And that’s something that the 99 percent constantly misses—how we make a difference.

Amongst the younger group, they would rather stay home than earn what they call a negative wage. A nicely dressed black man, in his late 20s or early 30s, explained that one day: “Well, if my rent and my entertainment, eating out, taking people out, and my utilities and my groceries and my monthly clothing expenses add up to $1,800 a month, but I have a job that’s only going to pay me $900 a month before taxes, that’s a negative wage.” And I said, “No, that’s you being an idiot.”

Our socialist president is looking around and saying, it’s not your fault, it’s the rich people’s fault. So let’s attack them. No, Mr. President, it’s your fault, for telling everyone in America that hope and change is on the way, and that hope and change is going to be paid for, by us.

We already have hope, and we don’t really need to change. So thanks very much. I’m going to keep my money, my guns and my freedom.

Confessions of Philadelphia’s One Percent: click here to hear from The CEO.